Perry’s Close to His Alamo Moment

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LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 18: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seven GOP contenders are taking part in the debate, which is sponsored by the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and held in The Venetian hotel's Sands Expo and Convention Center. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 18: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seven GOP contenders are taking part in the debate, which is sponsored by the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and held in The Venetian hotel’s Sands Expo and Convention Center. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

The Republican Presidential candidate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night made headlines for the attacks on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and for the animated fireworks between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

However, Rick Perry’s animated comments did not score the actual points he wanted to make and exposed the point that the one time front runner is nearing the moment when he will face surrender or elimination.

Perry’s Alamo moment is coming soon.

The debates have not been kind to Perry. His personality and energy have not translated well in prime time and he has stumbled on questions about his record and other topics.

But Perry’s desperation in the debate in Las Vegas showed other problems for Perry.

On this issue, I actually speak from experience. As a debate producer, I have seen these desperate moments before. They are shown when candidates interrupt, make personal attacks and generally look to bully opponents, despite what affect the strategy may have on an audience.

Think of it as a boxer who is way behind in points in a fight and has no choice but to swing wild haymakers, hoping that one of them lands. The fighter knows that the odds are low, but he must take risks at this point because he is unexpectedly behind.

Right now, that’s Rick Perry’s position.

After Herman Cain has done to him what Perry did to Michelle Bachman, namely steal his Tea Party thunder to rise to the top to the polls, Perry has found himself in third place, and no momentum to reverse his slide.

If he doesn’t do something to stop his slide and to start inflicting real damage on Romney, his campaign will be over before it really gets started.

Thanks to eager Republicans in Florida and Nevada, the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire will occur very shortly after Christmas. And as the annoying sign at my local box store reminded me this weekend, Christmas is right around the corner.

Rick Perry does not have much time to make Republicans in this country feel that he is the man who can not only defeat his fellow Republican candidates, but also come out of the fight strong enough to go up against President Obama.

It may seem like the Republican candidates have debated a hundred times already and that one more debate really can’t make much of a difference. But while it is just one more debate, it is clearly showing a ticking clock over Rick Perry’s head.

And if Perry doesn’t do something very soon, that ticking clock is going to strike midnight and he’s going to be on the outside of the race, looking in.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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